Public Policy ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
On August 5, 2015 Congressman Zeldin came to visit John T. Mather Memorial Hospital to discuss the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act.
What do you need to know? Payments to RDN Medicare providers will be cut by 21% effectiveApril 1, 2015 if Congress does not take action. Such cuts in Medicare payments pose a threat every year due to something called the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. While everyone agrees that the SGR formula is flawed, Congress has not been able to agree on how to fix it. So rather than passing legislation for a permanent fix, each year they put a band-aid on the problem. Not this year. Today the House passed H.R. 2, a bill to repeal the SGR and change Medicare provider payments. The bill has now been passed to the Senate for a vote tomorrow. If the bill passes the Senate, we may actually see a permanent resolution to the problem and avert the 21% pay cut looming on the horizon. The bill also includes many provisions that impact other aspects of the Medicare and Medicaid payment systems for both providers and beneficiaries. For more information on this issue, read the attached SGR Issue Brief.
What do you need to do?
Call or email your Senator today and ask him/her to vote in favor of SGR Fix (H.R. 2). It is OK to leave a message with staff asking for the Senator's support. A sample message of what you could say:
" Dear Senator [insert name]. As a registered dietitian nutritionist and constituent, I am asking you to vote in favor of SGR fix (H.R. 2). It is important that the SGR formula be repealed and the Medicare provider payments be modernized to support quality care for Medicare beneficiaries. Also, I encourage you to send a message to CMS that they consider the needs of non-physician providers as they develop rules to implement the MIPS so RDNs receive fair and equitable payment within the Medicare system so Medicare beneficiaries continue to have access to important and cost-effective nutrition services. Nutrition services provided by RDNs play an important role in improving the health of our nation and controlling health care costs. Thank you for your support."
Share this message with members immediately and ask them to do the same.
To call a Senator's office, call the Senate switch board and ask to be transferred to Senator (Insert Name). The Senate switch board phone number is 202-224-3121.
To send an email message to your Senator, visit their website and locate the contact section for sending a message to the Senator.
Time is tight, but we need your voice to be heard! This bill impacts a huge segment of our membership, not just Medicare providers. So make your call right now.
The current political atmosphere is an exciting time for nutrition professionals! The AND is working hard to make sure Registered Dietitians are an integral component of the new health care bill. In order to accomplish this we must participate in advocacy by arranging appointments with our local Representatives and Senators to discuss AND’s key messages for 2012. If you would like to make a visit to your local congressional representative email LIAND's Public Policy Coordinator Linda Folken, RD, CDN, CNSD at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you don’t have time for a visit send an e-mail to your representative and senators via AND's Web site. Also, when AND sends out an action alert email they want you to send an email via “Grassroots Manager.” Go to www.eatright.org and log in as a member. Under the "Advocacy and the Profession," tab click "Grassroots Manager" on the left hand side. Once in "Grassroots Manager," click "Take Action." This interactive page will translate your ADA member number into a personalized letter to your legislators. You will be offered the choice of e-mailing the letter or printing out a letter to fax. Please choose the e-mail option.
Be sure to subscribe to AND's newsletter to stay up to date on important information regarding the future of our profession. Go to www.eatright.org, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on E-newsletter, then click on ‘Manage Your Subscriptions’, sign in with your username and password, and click on ‘subscribe to Eat Right Weekly’.
Get Involved CDN Licensing - Right now we are at a holding stage with licensure and are waiting for the results of the new election. The bill is written, but does not have a bill number, which is a needed to meet with legislatures. It is very important that RDs are also CDNs so that when the bill is passed RDs can easily obtain a license. Currently, there are less CDNs than RDs, which is not good for advocacy of the bill. Read more about CDN licensing and how to become a CDN >>
The past few months have seen a great deal of change in New York's Medicaid system, including coverage for essential benefits. Following up on the advocacy efforts that you made throughout the Medicaid Redesign process period--including the Memos of Supports that were signed and issued-- I want to keep you aware of ongoing efforts by our colleagues in the field to see coverage of oral nutrition supplements reinstated. I am re-sending a Letter to the Editor that was authored by the Northeast Kidney Foundation and recently published in The Albany Times Union expressing the need for continued coverage (link and text are below). In order to make our voices heard on this issue, it is important that we all spread this message far and wide.
Please take a moment to do some of the following:
Post this article (or the link to it) on your website
Post it on your Facebook and Twitter sites
Send a copy of it to Assemblyman Gottfried and Senator Hannon with a letter expressing the importance of coverage for your constituents
E-blast it to your members and constituents and ask them to do the same!
Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, Chair, Assembly Health Committee
As always, if you need additional information, background information, or have any questions, please contact me at (917) 777-0667 or by email at email@example.com. Thank you for your continued commitment to this issue and to the health of New Yorkers.
Kidney patients need coverage Published 12:30 a.m., Wednesday, August 31, 2011
We at the Northeast Kidney Foundation are writing in response to the article, "Session may be over, but work still remains" (June 26). We strongly agree that a great deal of work remains to ensure that sufficient health coverage is in place for our most vulnerable populations. In New York, an estimated 1.5 million people suffer from chronic kidney disease and of those, 35,000 experience chronic kidney failure. Many require oral nutritional supplements. However, due to the recent changes in Medicaid and the state budget, payment for these supplements no longer will be provided for Medicaid recipients. The need for oral nutritional supplementation for people with chronic kidney disease is acknowledged by health care professionals and the clinical practice guidelines of the National Kidney Foundation. Without supplementation, these patients are more susceptible to malnutrition, due to such causes as inadequate food intake, loss of nutrients during dialysis, inadequate dialysis, dietary restrictions, anorexia and loss of blood. While it may appear that eliminating funding of supplements will reduce overall spending, their cost is small compared to the health care costs incurred by patients faced with severe malnourishment, including hospitalization. Restoring this Medicaid coverage should decrease cost of health care and result in an overall improvement in quality of life for patients suffering from chronic kidney disease and other chronic, nutritionally challenging diseases. Dr. Thomas Schumacher Medical director Northeast Kidney Foundation Albany
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics officially has a neutral position on the issue of GMOs.
Here is information about the current bills/acts towards GMO and public policy for your convenience:
Support GMO Labeling in the U.S. Did you know that 70-80% of commercially available foods contain at least one genetically modified ingredient? Do you want to know which foods you and your clients purchase contain genetically modified ingredients?
On July 23, 2015, the House of Representatives voted in favor of H.R. 1599, officially known as the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015, and often referred to as “The DARK Act” or the “Deny Americans the Right to Know Act” since this bill would prevent states from requiring GMO labeling and would make voluntary labeling of GMOs a national standard. This bill has not yet been voted upon in the Senate. If you are in favor of GMO labeling, contact your local senators if you do not want this bill passed.
H.R.913, The Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act bill would require labeling of GMO foods in the U.S., except for restaurants and medical foods. If you would like to support this GMO labeling bill, contact your representatives and your senators.